Technology propels the world forward, and those who make that happen are invaluable to the cause. Most of these professionals are tech experts who are constantly breaking frontiers and using the gift of technology to make business more efficient and profitable.
Tech jobs have surged in the past decade and they are becoming increasingly lucrative. Between 2019 and 2020, the average salary in the U.S. tech industry jumped 3.6 percent, reaching an impressive figure of $97, 859.
Interestingly, this salary hike has come at a time of rampant business uncertainty. As Covid-19 has spread across the world causing global financial panic, companies are laying off employees and cutting down salaries.
On the other hand, the tech industry and tech-related jobs are on the rise due to one primarytech reason – technology seems to be the only viable solution to bringing about business certainty in a pandemic-stricken time.
Whether you’re planning a career switch or are already in the tech industry, here are some of the fastest rising tech jobs in the U.S.
1. Cybersecurity Analyst
A cybersecurity analyst is among the most sought-after professions today. Between 2019 and 2020, an average cybersecurity analyst saw a 16.3 percent increase in their salary. This means the profession is in high demand, but why?
Most companies today store their data on computers. They use software programs that manage the data and keep it confidential. Unfortunately, these systems can be hacked and cause a lot of financial loss. Cybercrime is out of control and so far, it has caused a global financial loss of $6 trillion.
To put that in perspective, the world economy is worth $93.86 trillion. So, that means 6 percent of the world’s wealth disappeared just because wasn’t enough cybersecurity. This is where a cybersecurity analyst steps in.
A cybersecurity analyst thinks like a hacker and develops security systems for a company. This way the company ensures that its data is well-protected. The data is confidential because it may contain trade secrets or sensitive information that should only be accessible by company executives.
How well a cybersecurity analyst does their job depends on the skills they have. The fastest-growing cybersecurity skills are application development security and cloud security. Both these skills entail building security systems from scratch instead of just responding to security threats.
Cybersecurity professionals who have these skills are more sought-after by employers and thus receive higher salary packages. Research indicates that having cloud security expertise and experience can raise your salary by $15,000.
This rising trend is expected to continue at least for half a decade, with a 5-year projected growth rate of 115 percent. Meanwhile, application development security may grow at a 5-year-average rate of 164 percent and raise a cybersecurity analyst’s average salary by up to $12,000.
Cybersecurity professionals can also learn skills like threat intelligence, data privacy and security, health information security, and access management.
2. Data Scientist
Data today is more valuable than gold. That’s certainly not an overstatement. If you look closely, almost every aspect of our lives revolves around data. It’s not a coincidence that the minute you text someone about a product you’re interested in, you start seeing online ads of that product.
Companies use data to know consumer preferences and market their products to them. Data is an invaluable asset and that’s why data scientists are among the most sought-after professionals today. A data scientist’s average salary in the U.S. rose by 12.8 percent between 2019 and 2020.
Data scientists use programming languages to build data management softwares. They help interpreting, storing, and protecting data. Also, it’s their job to understand exactly where and how the data is vulnerable and then make it more secure.
That’s why there are 650 percent more data scientists today than there were in 2012. These professionals enjoy a median salary of $125,000. If you’re a data scientist and more than just good at Math, the below skills would make you valuable to an organization.
Programming comes first and foremost. Most data scientists use Python and R. as their preferred programming languages. Also, since their job is to make sense of enormous amounts of data, they are quite skilled with tools like SQL, Hadoop, and Spark. Using these, a data scientist can store, query, and analyze data.
Next comes machine learning (ML). This is where it goes up a level. Companies with massive datasets want data scientists to use Natural Language Processing and deep learning to automate the data handling process. There’s nothing better if data can be accurately filtered, cleansed, and managed automatically using ML.
Data scientists with ML skills are well sought-after, especially in the U.S. Almost 30 percent of U.S. enterprises already use AI and ML in data management whereas 53 percent expect to use these tools within the next five years.
3. DevOps Engineer
Effective collaboration is important to get a project done in the least amount of time. That’s what a DevOps engineer does. DevOps is more an approach than a profession. In simple words, it’s just a method to improve collaboration throughout the software development cycle. It ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Why is DevOps important? The simple answer is that employers do not want to waste resources. When different software development teams are not on the same page, there’ll be a lot of confusion and misunderstandings between teams. There’ll be a lot of unnecessary emails going back and forth. Needless to say, this wastes a company’s time and resources.
Between 2019 and 2020, the average salary for DevOps engineers in the U.S. rose by 12.2 percent. Part of the reason for this jump is a DevOps engineer’s expertise to shorten what’s called the software development lifecycle (SDLC)
The SDLC is a project management tool that clearly defines the stages through which software development happens from start to end. Having clear milestones in the SDLC helps companies save resources and make sure communication is seamless among teams.
Automation is a good tool to for seamless communication. But with all automation arise security concerns. It’s a DevOps engineer’s responsibility to automate software development processes in a controlled environment, all the while making sure that the software remains secure.
When it comes to hard-learned skills, perhaps the most in-demand skill for a DevOps engineer is Linux. Linux is an operating system that has become widely popular because of the unparalleled security it offers. After that, a DevOps engineer should be well-versed with Linux-based configuration management tools like Ansible and Chef.
Another skill that makes a DevOps engineer stand out from the crowd is if they have expertise in a scripting language, preferably Python. Having this skill makes them well sought-after by employers.
Apart from this, DevOps engineers can also benefit if they’re experts in managing source code management software. This software helps team members share and collaborate source code.
4. Cloud Architect
With cloud computing on the rise, it’s no surprise employers are seeking cloud architects and engineers. These individuals build a company’s cloud infrastructure and oversee its cloud computing strategy.
When a company has massive amounts of data, it’ll prefer using cloud storage. When you store your data on a cloud, that data is encrypted, which means any hacker who wants to get their hands on that data will have to get through an added layer of security.
For the above reason among many others, a cloud architect’s average salary in the U.S. hiked by 6.3 percent between 2019 and 2020. Forecasts indicate that up to 2024, more than 12,000 cloud architect jobs would open up in the U.S. per year.
One reason for this high demand is that with cloud computing, you don’t need to have hardware to access your data.
A cloud server makes your data accessible irrespective of the hardware you’re using. All you need is an internet connection. For example, if you upload your data on a cloud, you can switch to another PC and download that data from the cloud. It’s like a vritual USB.
Cloud architects are responsible for building this virtual USB. When the data isn’t stored on hardware, it is more secure because if the hardware malfunctions, the data would corrupt and become permanently lost.
In developing a company’s entire cloud infrastructure, a cloud architect needs expertise in several operating systems, especially Linux, Solaris, Unix, and Windows. Next, they should have a good grasp of networking and security.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, cloud security is the most sought-after skill. This is because a company’s confidential data is a valuable asset and an organization will place top priority to keep it secure.
As we discussed above, cloud security is a must-have for cybersecurity analysts too, so there’s a great deal of overlap between these two professions.
The next in-demand skills are machine learning and AI. Machine learning solutions on cloud (also called MLaaS) are becoming increasingly popular. You might want to get well-versed with ML frameworks like MXNet, CNTK, and TensorFlow.